iAMscientist brings crowdfunding to research


Site targets projects that might be considered too small-scale to benefit from grants.

A new crowdfounding venture is aiming to make the lives of scientists and researchers easier.

iAMscientist, based out of Bedford, Mass., brings the crowdsourcing format popularized by Kickstarter and Indiegogo to the science community. Its goal is to provide alternative methods of funding for projects that are too small-scale for grants.

From the site:

We believe that the current funding process has a low grant success rate because it only rewards large scale, long term projects at a time when the pace of innovation demands that research projects be more granular, of shorter duration and executed at lower cost.

iAMscientist hopes that the general populace will help out these types of ventures.

Like other crowdsourcing sites, iAMscientist uses incentives to encourage potential donors to make a contribution. Similarly, they too keep 5 percent of all successfully funded campaigns.

The site is the brainchild of Borya Shakhnovich, a scientist who does systems biology at Harvard University. According to Venturebeat, the company has already raised $1 million from angel investors. Among them is Harvard University chemistry professor and serial start-up founder George Whitesides.

The new company is not without problems. For starters, another science-oriented crowdfounding platform—Petridish.org—beat them to the punch by launching on March 6.

iAMscientist also has a limited number of projects that are currently seeking funding. As of this writing, the site currently has nine ongoing proposals.

Out of these, the most popular is a program that hopes to track the movement of Diamondback Terrapins. The project has raised $2,395 to date, over $3,000 short of its goal. With less than a month left to donate, it is unclear whether this campaign will be funded. To date, 25 different projects have already been funded via Petridish.

Photo via RDECOM/Flickr


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